Subsidies for Radboudumc in the context of ZonMw Open Competition – Research into the heart, baby sleep, movement disorders, myotonic dystrophy, ICU care, leukemia and infectious diseases

Subsidies for Radboudumc in the context of ZonMw Open Competition – Research into the heart, baby sleep, movement disorders, myotonic dystrophy, ICU care, leukemia and infectious diseases
Subsidies for Radboudumc in the context of ZonMw Open Competition – Research into the heart, baby sleep, movement disorders, myotonic dystrophy, ICU care, leukemia and infectious diseases
April 3, 2024

Radboudumc receives subsidies for various projects in the context of the ZonMw Open Competition. The aim of the ZonMw Open Competition program is to create space for curiosity-driven and creative collaboration that leads to groundbreaking science. All projects involve collaboration with other knowledge institutions. 29 projects were awarded funding for a total amount of 23 million euros.

Short-term exercise against cardiovascular disease

Dick Thijssen, Niels van Royen, with Radboud University and University of Twente

Heart surgery improves heart function, but also causes damage to heart tissue. More damage increases the risk of complications. Reducing this damage is therefore extremely important. Everyone knows that regular exercise protects against cardiovascular disease. However, how quickly does this protection occur? We have indications that one-off exercise provides protection against damage during open heart surgery. By understanding why and how quickly exercise protects us, we can better benefit from exercise. If the protection of sports is immediately available, patients before heart surgery can also benefit from sports. This allows exercise to limit damage to their heart, reducing their risk of complications and improving their quality of life. We will investigate how sport provides the best and fastest protection. We examine patients’ blood and heart tissue to understand why exercise provides protection.

The dynamics between parents and their babies at night

Carolina de Weerth, Martin Dresler, André Marquand, with Radboud University and University of Twente

The birth of a child is a period of adjustment for parents, when disturbed sleep and other challenges of parenthood can cause mental and physical health problems. About 10-25% of fathers and mothers suffer from postpartum depression. What we do not yet understand is how parents jointly care for their baby at night and whether this behavior affects their own health and the baby’s development. This project follows couples from pregnancy until the baby is six months old. We use small, portable devices that automatically record baby cries at night, the proximity of parent and baby, and parents’ sleep and stress. Using advanced analytics, we investigate what nighttime care looks like, how it changes over time, and whether it can predict health problems. This valuable knowledge will help us design better counseling and prevention programs for new parents.

Antibodies in movement disorders

Bart van de Warrenburg, Nael Nadif Kasri, Erik-Jan Kamsteeg, Marina Hommersom, Alexander Hoischen, Marcel Verbeek, with Erasmus MC

In recent years, so-called autoantibodies have been found in patients with various neurological disorders as an explanation for the disease. Many patients with these antibodies present with movement disorders that closely resemble degenerative brain diseases, such as parkinsonism and ataxia. We believe that some of the patients currently diagnosed with a degenerative movement disorder actually have a (treatable) neuro-immunological disorder. We investigate how often known autoantibodies occur in these patients, and we also look for new antibodies. We will then use the knowledge about autoantibodies to find new genetic causes in patients with degenerative movement disorders and look for genetic explanations for differences between patients with these autoantibodies. This project has important diagnostic and therapeutic implications for patients with neurological movement disorders.

Heterogeneity in myotonic dystrophy

Peter-Bram ‘t Hoen, Rick Wansink, Hilde Braakman, Hans van Bokhoven, with Maastricht UMC+ and University of Glasgow

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is one of the most heterogeneous rare diseases. DM1 is known as a neuromuscular disorder, but affects many different organs. However, not every patient suffers from the same symptoms and the course of the disease is very variable. We believe that some of this variation is explained by the instability of the repetitive sequence that causes the disease. To investigate this, we will follow an existing group of DM1 patients, including children, over time and measure the length of the repetitive sequence and the molecular and clinical profiles of the patients every year. We will also culture cells from these patients and determine the instability of the repetitive sequence in different cell types, such as muscle and brain cells. These studies will help us to predict how the disease will progress for each patient.

Cost-effectiveness in ICU care

Hans van der Hoeven, Marieke Zegers, Mark van den Boogaard, Eddy Adang, Gijs Hesselink, Gert Olthuis, with Amsterdam UMC

The sustainability of healthcare is under pressure due to personnel and financial shortages. This requires making choices in healthcare. However, knowledge about the added value of ICU care based on patient outcomes and related costs is limited. The aim of this project is to support policy makers and clinicians in making treatment choices by generating knowledge about the cost-effectiveness of ICU care. And to provide insight into the challenges associated with the use of macroeconomic knowledge in decision-making about ICU care. In this project, three large-scale data sources with clinical data, patient-reported outcomes and cost data are linked and research groups in the areas of economic evaluation, medical informatics, ethics, implementation sciences and intensive care work together. Consensus is being sought with citizens, healthcare providers, health insurers and policy makers about what (dis)proportional ICU care is.

Clonal hematopoiesis as a risk factor for leukemia

Joop Jansen, Maaike van Bergen, Aniek de Graaf, with Princess Máxima Center and UMCG

Cancer is caused by the gradual accumulation of DNA mutations in healthy cells. These mutations can lead to a growth advantage of the mutated cell, and therefore clonal outgrowth. Clonal hematopoiesis is the presence of a clone of mutated blood cells and occurs in more than 30% of healthy elderly people. Clonal hematopoiesis is an important risk factor for the development of leukemia later in life. In this project we will investigate when clonal hematopoiesis arises in life and which environmental factors ensure that a clone grows or not. We do this in healthy individuals and in children who undergo a donor stem cell transplant. In these individuals we will measure whether there is clonal hematopoiesis and which environmental factors cause these clones to grow or shrink. The ultimate goal is to discover new targets to inhibit the development of clonal hematopoiesis into leukemia.

Effects of prenatal infection on early development

Lilly Verhagen, with Utrecht University and UMCU

When a pregnant woman becomes infected with an infection, such as a cold, flu or COVID-19, it can affect the development of her baby. We suspect that the infection causes brain networks in the baby’s brain to develop less well, which can make it more difficult for the baby to focus attention on something and possibly exhibit more difficult behavior. To investigate this, we try to find out as much as possible about the type and severity of possible infections through the blood and saliva of pregnant women. We combine this with information we collected from their babies up to the age of three, about the development of their brain networks, their attention, and their self-control. We can do this because we combine knowledge from different areas: developmental psychology, pediatrics, epidemiology and immunology. Ultimately, we hope to be able to provide better information to pregnant women and help children with problems. The project is led by Utrecht University, and Lilly Verhagen is involved on behalf of Radboud University Medical Center.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Subsidies Radboudumc context ZonMw Open Competition Research heart baby sleep movement disorders myotonic dystrophy ICU care leukemia infectious diseases


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